Nuit Blanche: A party to end all partiesMontreal, Canada
Celebrating the quirky side of Canada’s City of Design, Nuit Blanche flips the bird at the weatherman and proves Montrealers can party under any circumstances.
From 6pm to 6am revellers let loose across town as galleries throw open their doors, projections dance over buildings and art lurks in dark corners. To work up to the all-nighter, the 11-day Montréal en Lumiére festival precedes the event, but wild Nuit Blanche is the ultimate climax.
Bundle up and hope for snow, swill a cocktail, then try your hand at an art class – after a few tipples you won’t give a damn when your painting resembles a four-year-old’s masterpiece.
Spear a sausage and roast it over the braziers at Place des Festivals, then head to the street stalls selling maple syrup taffy poured into fresh snow. The sugar fix should help you gain top speed while hurtling down the 110-metre ice slide that slices through an open-air dance party, before you shake it to pulsing sound, lasers and smoke while enclosed in a giant glass cube.
Head underground to escape the frost as Art Souterrain (Art Underground) kicks off with live performances and art projects scattered throughout the pedestrian network. Many activities wrap up around 2am but the best parties pump on till dawn.
If, among the comedy, poetry, dance, flicks, karaoke, beer tasting, circus acts, erotic bondage, rock climbing and ice carving, you don’t stumble upon something that excites you, then you haven’t explored enough. Exhibitions change each year – although we’d love the return of Aquart, an underwater art gallery explored with a scuba kit – so there’s always something new to unearth.
- Nearly all 200 attractions are free
- Nothing like a good party to shake out those winter blues
- You can learn new tricks with workshops on anything and everything including hula hooping and stained glass painting
- It can get down to minus 20°C this time of year – keep your feet dry at all costs!
- Nuit Blanche has gotten too popular for its own good and you will need to pack your patience for the lines
Air Canada has direct flights to Montreal from nearly 40 cities around the world
Each year a selection of downtown hotels offer up to 50 per cent off rooms for festival fans, as well as a 3pm check-out. They don’t take reservations, though, so just rock up, declare your love for Nuit Blanche and if there’s room at the
inn you’re in.
The metro runs all night and there are free shuttle buses to shuffle you between attractions from 8am to 3am.
To make sure you don’t end up walking for miles or get stuck in long lines get a plan for the night. There are six possible tour routes available on the Nuit Blanche website.
There is a Nuit Blanche app you can download that even has a find your friend function. Handy!
Alcohol isn’t allowed at Nuit Blanche’s outdoor venues.